The Airmen's Stories - P/O J S Southwell
John Sydney Southwell, of Hull, joined the RAF on a short service commission in February 1939. After completing his training, Southwell joined the newly-reformed 245 Squadron at Leconfield on 6th November 1939.
He served with ‘A’ Flight operating from Moorsele in Belgium and on 17th May his Hurricane N2501 had its glycol tank punctured in combat with Me109’s over Brussels, he force landed near Pottignies.
Over Dunkirk on 30th May 1940 Southwell shared a probable Do17 of I/KG3 and on 1st June he destroyed two Me109's. He served with 245 Squadron in the Battle of Britain.
In early 1941 Southwell was serving with 274 Squadron in the Western Desert. On 17th March 1941 a flight of the squadron was detached to Malta to reinforce 261 Squadron. On 22nd March eight Hurricanes of 261 took off to meet ten Ju88's approaching Grand Harbour with a Me109 escort. In the ensuing engagement, five of the Hurricanes were shot down, including V7799 flown by Southwell. All five pilots were lost.
Southwell was 20 and is buried in Capuccini Naval Cemetery, Malta.